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Finding a real relationship after a sociopath

The following story was sent by the Lovefraud reader who comments under the name “LovingAnnie.” This woman—we’ll call her Annie—spent four years waiting for a relationship to materialize with a policeman who tantalized her with flattery and promises. Here’s what Annie wrote:

Annie and the cop

I called 9-1-1 for the first time in my life (a neighbor problem), and when I answered the door, my first thought on seeing him was, “wow—he is sooo cute.”

We ended up talking for almost an hour and exchanging phone numbers.

He told me he’d been a cop for almost 20 years, was divorced with two kids. That a few years after the divorce was final, he had a girlfriend who was also a police officer, but they had recently broken up because they saw life differently, and she drank too much.

I’d see him every week or so when he was driving by, and he’d stop and chat for a while. He seemed such a perfect fit for me, and that we had so much in common. He was close to my age, so clean cut in lifestyle and appearance, liked to cook, liked to read, liked to exercise, had a great dry sense of humor, was politically incorrect and religiously indifferent, and we were physically attracted to each other as well.

He called, but he wasn’t asking me out. I tried to play it cool, let things unfold slowly, with no pressure, but something just felt wrong. He’d ask me what I was wearing, talk about how he wanted to kiss my neck … He seemed so connected to me when we talked, and I loved talking to him about anything and everything, it was just comfortable and easy. But he didn’t try to see me off of work; there were no dates. It was frustrating but I didn’t want to be aggressive.

This went on for months. He’d call, tell me I was beautiful, sensuous, intelligent, loving, warm, giving, beguiling—and that he was sexually and emotionally scared of me. That he knew I wouldn’t hurt him, but he’d hurt himself. That I was dangerous, that he got flustered around me …

And then he would disappear … For a month or two, and then come back, always smiling, always sweet. (It turns out he had never broken up with his girlfriend at all, and in fact, they were about to buy a house together.)

But by that time I was hooked. I was so naive and hopeful and trusting, I believed every word he said. He was a cop, a good guy, he seemed so sincere and genuine …

I thought he was really a nice guy and behaving himself, that he was waiting until they were broken up to do anything with me, being honorable. He told me he was fiercely loyal.

This went on for 3 years … I’d only see him occasionally, but he always made it seem like if I’d just be patient, things would work between us. I’d try dating other people to get my mind off of him, and nothing ever worked out, so back to the policeman my thoughts would go …

He’d cuddle me; we’d just sit on the sofa for an hour or two wrapped around each other like 16-year-olds who don’t go past second base … He’d always be obviously aroused, but didn’t try to have sex with me—again, I thought he was treating me with respect, and that meant I could trust him. He wasn’t cheating on his girlfriend, we were waiting until things were right and we could be together.

He’d talk about how pissed off he would get at his girlfriend for passing out drunk, throwing up blood, going into rehab and then coming home and drinking again immediately, etc.
I thought for sure by comparison I looked like a prize since I rarely drank. I was financially stable, didn’t have any kids of my own, and had no baggage with an ex-husband. I even told him that he could come live with me if he wanted to, and that I adored him. He said I was so open and he was so guarded …

He’d tell me he drove my house three times a shift. (He was lying, he drove by once every three weeks.)

I said, “If you know you aren’t ever going to break up with T, and you know you don’t want me for a girlfriend when you do, blow me off right now.” He didn’t. I said, “well, are you going to blow me off ?” And he said “no.” 

He told me he looked for me, that he was so happy when he saw me, that the chemistry was so thick it was tangible, that he couldn’t keep his hands off of me, that he was emotionally, intellectually and physically attracted to me but that he couldn’t act on it—YET.

One of his friends told me that he was watching me when he was on the midnight shift, checking out my windows, (I live up on a hill and it is easy to see in from a street across the way) even spying on me with binoculars a few times to see what kind of life I led.
Even though it would have creeped me out if another guy had done that, I felt like I had nothing to hide and I was flattered; I thought it really meant he wanted me, and when he was available, he’d have gotten his courage and his info. Together enough that we would be solid.

He finally broke up with his girlfriend over her drinking, and then disappeared on me for five months.

The same friend who had told me the other stuff told me that he was so stressed out about the bad real estate market, he was on the verge of foreclosure (even though he was working major overtime), depressed, not eating, and isolating himself. He had told me once he was borderline suicidal, so I got really scared. Behind his back, I paid his overdue property taxes, to try to help him out.

When I finally called him and told him I was lonely and I missed him, he told me to “go work for habitat for humanity and that we hardly knew each other; that he wasn’t ready to date but when he was, there was a probation officer who was interested in him.”
Then when I started to cry in pain, three years of hope now smashed in a minute, he told me I was guilting him and he hated it, and hung up on me.

He found about about me paying the property taxes and came to my house and was furious. I said I could cancel the charge on my credit card, and he said no, he’d pay me back when he got his income tax refund (he never made any attempt to pay me back) and he yelled at me, saying I had no right to control his life, and that he couldn’t trust me, I was acting obsessive.

I was absolutely horrified—I’d really been trying to help, to do something loving and supportive when the chips were down that only a family member would do for someone. I hadn’t meant anything bad at all by it, and yet he took it that way.

He told me I misread everything he’d ever said and done, that he was just being friendly.
Then he stood at my door and told me that he had wanted to make love to me every night, that he had fantasized about me so often, wanting me every way a man can have a woman.

I uncovered about a dozen lies after that … It seemed like he lied almost every time he talked to me. But I blamed myself. I thought if I hadn’t pushed him, if I’d just let him take the action instead of me, things would have worked out differently.

He came back nine months later (my burglar alarm had gone off by mistake), and basically just totally played head games with me for six weeks, e-mailing instead of calling, telling me how aroused I made him but saying that his little voices were telling him to “run baby run …”

Then he just stopped contacting me at all, although he still read my blog on the web twice a week for the next two months. We finally got in a huge fight one night and he told me that he was never going to ask me out, never have a relationship with me, and never have sex with me.

I keep thinking everything is my fault. That maybe he really is a good solid decent guy and it was just me pushing that turned him off and made him go away.

I don’t understand how he could have played me for three years if he didn’t mean it …
After all, he was originally married for 10 years, and then later on after he was divorced had a girlfriend for six years, so clearly he has long-term relationships.
Why aren’t I lovable? Why didn’t he value me?

I’m still grieving and stuck, and thinking I lost out on Prince Charming, that something is wrong with me that he didn’t want me, didn’t want a relationship with me … It’s so seldom that I meet a man who seems so right for me, and I’m just devastated. I don’t recover or bounce back easily, and now I’m terrified that there is something really wrong with me not to have known all along he didn’t want me.

This cop likes power

Sociopaths, as Dr. Liane Leedom says, want two things: power and sex. Some sociopaths—like this cop—want power more than sex, and are quite capable of withholding sex in order to assert power. That’s what this guy was doing.

For him, it was all about the game. The cop was getting his jollies from knowing that Annie wanted him, adored him, loved him—and he could mess with her mind and emotions with his push-pull routine. With his little intrigue, he was satisfying his need for entertainment.

That’s all Annie was. Entertainment.

In a previous e-mail that Annie sent me, she wondered if this cop would treat another woman better. I’d say it’s extremely unlikely. Although he might actually go ahead and have sex with someone else, that woman will be used for entertainment and sex. There will be no love.

Waiting too long

At the end of her story, Annie also expressed that she was afraid something wrong with her for not recognizing that the cop didn’t want her. That’s not quite the issue here.

When I was single, I also spent quite a few years pining away for men who never showed up. I kept thinking if I gave them enough time, enough space, eventually they’d come around. It never worked.

So did these guys want me? They seemed to, when they were around. But they did not come around enough for our interaction to advance to the point of being a relationship.

Here is the issue: By waiting for them, I was not believing in myself. Annie did the same thing. She spent four years waiting for this cop. This particular guy was a sociopath, but that is almost beside the point. The point is that any relationship involves two people moving towards each other, step by step. If that is not happening, there is no relationship, and no point waiting around.

Fear and relationships

I am not being critical of Annie. As I said, I did exactly the same thing.

So why did I do it? Why did I hang in for these men who did not show up? Fear. I was afraid that there was nobody else and I would be alone. I could only think in terms of the men that I knew. I could not think in terms of men whom I hadn’t yet met.

Fear also made me vulnerable for the sociopath, James Montgomery. When he rolled into my life with flattery and the promises, I fell for them. I noticed he was moving far too quickly, but it was a welcome relief from the men who didn’t show up at all. His agenda, I later learned, was manipulating me out of my money. He was also playing a game of keeping multiple women on a string at one time.

Finding a real relationship

The key to finding a real relationship, I believe, is overcoming fear and believing in ourselves. This is possible, even after a run-in with a sociopath.

Many Lovefraud readers, having been victimized by a sociopath, have commented that they no longer trust themselves when it comes to relationships. This is fear still speaking. They are afraid they will be fooled and victimized again.

We all know the devastation that comes from the encounter with the sociopath. Here’s what we all need to know and believe: Healing is possible. This seems unlikely while we’re in the midst of the turmoil, but it is true.

Healing does, however, take time. It requires processing the emotional pain, re-establishing connections with the people who truly love and support us, and perhaps dealing with legal and financial consequences. But this can all be done.

The devastation is a phase. An ugly phase, but a phase nonetheless. As we go through it, our goal should be to eliminate the fear and begin believing in ourselves. We now know what a sociopath looks like and how a sociopath behaves. We can come through this experience wiser, more in tune with our intuition, and with an open heart.

Then everything—including a new and real relationship—will fall into place.



240 Comments on "Finding a real relationship after a sociopath"

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  1. aussiegirl says:

    Deceived :

    “Is it me? … Why is it that 2 years after I still cannot bring myself to like anyone …A friend told me it’s like I don’t want to be happy and I “choose” to stay alone and be in misery… Why is this so hard fo rme…to like another man again and give myself again? … I feel like I’m INCAPABLE of giving myself and loving THAT way again …like this is a rare disease that struck me … completely soured me from men…afraid that I will always feel this way about men”

    Exactly where I was at for the first 2 years. Never thought it would pass. Worried I had been irrepairably damaged.

    It passed for me. It will pass for you. xx



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  2. kim frederick says:

    Deceived, Please stop questioning yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. You are right where you are supposed to be. Don’t let your friends tell you about you. Who is the expert on you? YOU ARE. Trust yourself. This time in your life is all about you. Like Skylar said, learn all you can about you, everything else falls into place. Also, I agree with Skylar that we tend to repeat these same doomed relationships, unless and until we really work on ourselves, our self-esteem, our sence of identity, our understanding of what it means to love, what’s healthy, what isn’t.

    I was the opposite of you. I went from one bad relationship to another, feeling almost desparate to find, “the one.” Well, I never found him. Instead I found many years of unhappiness, and confusion, chaos and crisis. Finally, at age 51, I am content to be with me. For me, being alone shows my growth. It took all these years to get here. It is my answer to the question, “how are all those relationships working for you?’ It is my response to the idea of trying something different. The definition of insanity is, doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results.

    I think when you’ve really healed, and begun to trust yourself, again, you’ll be able to take a chance on love again. So just take it one day at a time, and learn as much as you can…find yourself again, and keep coming back to share your experience with us.



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  3. Deceived says:

    Aussiegirl – hearing you say “Exactly where I was at for the first 2 years. Never thought it would pass. Worried I had been irrepairably damaged. It passed for me. It will pass for you” is music to my ears.

    There just might be hope for me yet. If it passed for you, maybe… hopefully this will pass for me too. THANK YOU for letting me know you went throught this too and went past it.

    Kim – you are so right. At this point, I do not trust myself…I do not trust my own judgment to read people and I have no confidence IN MYSELF that I can protect myself and keep myself safe because I failed miserably to do that in the past. Thank you for pointing this out to me. I so wholeheartedly agree with you.



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  4. kim frederick says:

    Well, Decieved, if you continue to come here, and read as much as you can, you will learn to identify spaths and N’s, and see through their masks. You will learn to trust your instincts. You will learn how to draw the line. It will happen.
    Have you read Kathleen Hawks articles On how do we heal?
    Go to the archives and click on Kathleen Hawk. She has a series that are numbered, and cover the various stages we go through in our recovery. I found them to be very helpful.



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  5. one_step_at_a_time says:

    Deceived – ditto ditto ditto!

    ‘like this is a rare disease that struck me …’

    but i am protecting myself from all people. it will take time. it will take the time it takes! i am often frustrated and scared. but I will get there. I have lost friends, and may lose jobs – but it IS a rare disease – it is NOT like getting over an ordinary relationship, nor even like getting over a ‘bad relationship’ – it is something else entirely, and the antidote takes time and patience.

    if you are going to be impatient, perhaps you can reserve that for judgmental friends.



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  6. lagioiella says:

    Yes, the cop was what I call performing psychological judo. Cops are trained to me masters of manipulation to handle criminals. How easy a target for him a non criminal is. Beware of the friend that fills you in on his lies. It is usually to help their sociopath friend get something from you for free. I was once asked to pay delinquent (2 years) boat registration. I gave mine cash at his request (no paper trail to bring him to small claims court) only later to find communication from the DMV that it was never paid.



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